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Sell your skills: 3 ways to highlight your skills on your resume

Two business professionals review resumes at a desk.

A CV or resume is one of the most important elements of your professional profile, and of any job application. It’s often the first thing a potential employer sees, and is therefore a first impression in the professional world. Whether you’re applying for an internship or a job, a stellar resume is key. Put your best foot forward in job or internship applications by starting with documents that represent you well. Explaining your value during an interview might seem more impactful than writing it down on a single sheet of paper. But it’s usually difficult to get past the application stage to an interview without a resume that stands out. The more you highlight your skills on your resume, the more likely you are to get the chance to explain them in person.

You’ve undoubtedly been told that it’s essential to do a thorough job when editing your resume. Spelling errors and grammatical mistakes might not prevent someone from reading, but they give the impression you aren’t serious about the position. These types of easily-avoidable errors may also contradict statements about your attention to detail or your clear communication skills. A great way to avoid these mistakes is to ask someone else to read through your resume before you hit submit. As an added bonus, a more objective reader may recommend additional skills you hadn’t thought of! Check out these five tips for getting started when writing your resume.

In addition to a clean, error-free resume, it’s crucial that your qualifications are immediately apparent to a potential employer. A single look through your resume should tell them you’d be a good fit for their role. If someone has to dig through your CV to find your relevant skills and experience, you’re probably not going to get an interview.


Apply these three tips to highlight skills on your resume:

1. Use specific examples

The more specific, the better. Employers want to know how you’ve put your skills into action, and the outcome. Don’t just say you’re adaptable. Describe the time you had to change a months-long project on a moment’s notice or when you gave a killer presentation to your clients. Keep in mind that most people applying for the position will list similar skills on their applications. To stand out, show the hiring manager how you’ve set yourself apart from others by utilizing those skills. When you get to the interview stage, you’ll have the chance to explain how you’d use those same skills in your new role. If your previous roles or experience had number-based success metrics, a resume is a great place to include those. You might even prefer to work backward, starting with your successes, and determining which skills helped you achieve them. 


2. Back it up with data

There’s nothing better you can do for your professional prospects than adding hard data to your application. Hard numbers are a great way to make your resume seem more impressive. Show potential employers exactly what you’ve achieved in former roles, from sales achievements to awards. No matter your industry, role, or experience level, there are numbers that dictate success. Did you exceed your quarterly sales goal by 30%? Did you achieve 100% client satisfaction ratings last year? Maybe you wrote an article that drove 25,000 new views to your company’s page. From response times to donation amounts, to profit, engagement, and everything in between, numbers prove legitimate accomplishments even before employers call your references. Data also helps to add context when you highlight skills on a resume or CV. Consider including additional context such as how you achieved your results, and the overall impact of your success on the wider organization.


Three people discuss documents at a table.

 3. Show specific value

The most important element of selling your skills is telling your future employer how those skills will add value to the role to which you’re applying. Make sure you explain why you are the right candidate, and what you can bring to the table. Of course, the best place to do this is during an interview or in a cover letter. But a resume is usually the first thing a hiring manager will see, so it also needs to demonstrate your value. This means it’s important to cater your resume to the specific company or role you’re applying for. Yes – you should have multiple copies of your resume at any given time. Each version of your application materials should highlight those experiences and skills that an organization values most highly. As a young professional, you likely have many experiences with broad applications. The way you describe them should match the role you’re hoping to land an interview for.


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  1. Untitled, by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash.
  2. Untitled, by Van Tay Media on Unsplash.
Photos and blog by Maeve Allsup

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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